Lily and her kit Huckleberry

Hope watched her nocturnal subjects until they retired to their lodge in early morning.

Beaver kit feeds on water lilies


Naturalist Hope Ryden braved all seasons and weather over a four-year period to document the comings and goings of a pair of wild beavers (Lily and the Inspector General and their offspring). Her patience and fortitude paid off: She won acceptance and was able to move among the animals she describes as "gnomes who work magic and transform their surroundings during the dark of night."

Dr Jane Goodall wrote in a preface to this book: "Reading this book was, for me, like journeying into a fascinating new world: I am enriched."


Book of the Month Club alternate

Condensed in the Readers Digest

Translated into six foreign languages

"Readers who have enjoyed Ryden's wildlife books will find this one irresistible. Ryden, who found beavers to be intensely social and highly intelligent, discussed the animals'importance in the ecosystem as they leave one pond and build another dam elsewhere. This is captivating natural history."
Publishers Weekly

"Enchanting study of the life of the beaver by a veteran nature-writer."
Starred review by Kirkus

"The mystery of common animal behavior still stands like a jungle around us. Hope Ryden has penetrated its interior"
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times

"This intrepid naturalist takes us to the outer limits of human thinking about animal intelligence. It is a major achievement which, I predict, will become a natural history classic."
George Page, host and executive editor, Nature series PBS-TV

Scroll back and click "Hope's Books" to return to book list

Books for All Ages

Photographs of wild horses in their beautiful habitat and stories of individual horses the author has observed over twenty years time
contains many pictures of this rarely glimpsed predator
Books for All Ages
Books for Adults
Study of the mustangs
Classic study of coyote family life
Author documented the lives and impact of a family of beavers over a four year period.
Books for Children
A Novel from Harper Collins
Florida Classics Library
A novel from Clarion Books